To Believe or Not Believe - Part II: What are the gaps in my life?
Last week I briefly compared the beliefs and attitudes of two of the worlds most prominent scientists, Richard Dawkins, who is an atheist, and Francis Collins, who is a fervent Christian believer. Dawkins has spent his life in teaching and lecturing at major universities, including his home ground at Oxford. Collins has poured most of his life into research, including the Human Genome project, and as head of the National Institutes of Health, contributing to the development of a COVID 19 vaccine. He found that God most adequately helps him make sense of the big questions that science raises and cannot answer on its own.
I said that my frequent encounters with Jesus through reading the Gospels daily provide a constant source of inspiration to address the gaps in my own life. Science never seems to address the most tender gaps in our human story, the gaps that occur in our relationships, and in our own morality, our sense of failure or worthlessness. Some people appear to claim they never have those gaps; that they have no problem pursuing relationships or ending them. Some claim they have never had anything to feel sorry for, or need forgiveness. Some indicate they always knew they were important, or valuable, not doubting their purpose in life.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had all those gaps in my life. I have at time let someone down, failed to be a good husband and/or father, probably have disappointed or hurt some people at times I did not even notice. And in those I did realize, or for which I was confronted, I was empowered by God’s love, to take responsibility for my failures and to seek forgiveness and restoration. On my own, I was not inclined to do that, but with God’s help, I have done my best to repair those gaps.
In other ways, when I examine myself in a prayerful way, God brings to my mind things I might otherwise ignore. These are often revelations of things that I have not done, the good things, the good opportunities that I ignored or overlooked because I was too much wrapped up in my own needs. Perhaps it was ignoring a neighbor for whom I could have offered help, or simply an encouraging word. Perhaps it was overlooking my options to support some good causes, to save some lonely or hungry persons, the children helped by World Vision, or Save the Children federation, things like that. I need to review my habits, my use of money and seek both God’s forgiveness and his direction for the next steps in my life.
Then there were also those times in my life when I took a turn and found myself wondering where to go, and what to do, perhaps between jobs, or losing my sense of direction in life. In those times I was blessed when God led good people to help me rediscover purpose, focus, and to realize that I was gifted enough to really do some good. I was worthwhile and I was worthy; I had good reasons for living and doing something that could bless others.
I have been richly blessed in life, not so much with the material things of this world, but with precious relationships, with beautiful friends, with challenging opportunities, and it has been those things that make me feel good about life. All of them come to me not from scientific advances, but from spiritual gifts from God, and through people he puts into my life. That is how God is important to address all the deeply important gaps that science knows nothing about. I hope this makes sense to you, my readers.
I pay attention to scientific advances because I am always curious. But I expect to live my whole life with questions and gaps that will only be resolved by God. I believe I can trust in the faithful, unfailing love of God, especially as shown in Jesus.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk
in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 NLT
© 2021 Stanley Hagemeyer